Mumbai: In a move that will provide relief to cancer patients, drugmaker Intas Pharmaceuticals has recently announced the launch of Trastuzumab biosimilar at a price-cut amount of Rs 19,995 for dose strength of 440 mg per vial.
Trastuzumab biosimilar, Eleftha is priced at an amount 65 per cent lower than the prevailing Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of other major brands. This life-saving drug is indicated for the treatment of breast cancer. The Intas launch is likely to slash the cost of the treatment to Rs 4 lakh from over Rs 10 lakh, thereby making it more affordable.
Intas Pharma’s spokesperson told Medical Dialogues, ” The Maximum retail price (MRP) of Eleftha® will be Rs. 19,995 for the dose strength of 440 mg, which makes it ~65% more economical than the currently available options.”
“This would be a great relief to the families of patients who are already burdened by the financial distress of cancer treatment,” he added.
Eleftha is the latest addition to Intas’ “Biosimilar for Billions” philosophy. Intas’ biosimilars are manufactured at the company’s European Union-Good Manufacturing Practices (EU-GMP) certified biotechnology plant located near Ahmedabad.
Prior to this, in order to bring relief to a large number of cancer patients in the country, Intas had cut down the cost of the cancer drug Bevacizumab by 60 per cent.
The firm’s current move to bring Eleftha in the market at 65 per cent lower cost will ease breast cancer patients. About two lakh women in India suffer from breast cancer of which one-fourth are HER2-positive.
Trastuzumab is a targeted therapy, which has revolutionised the management of HER2-positive breast cancer. Trastuzumab has shown to inhibit the growth of human cancer cells that over-express a type of protein called HER2.
Though trastuzumab, the innovator drug, has been available in India since 2000, yet before the entry of trastuzumab biosimilars, almost 80% of patients could not afford it.
The Intas launch of Trastuzumab biosimilar will now make human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 positive (HER2) breast cancer therapy more affordable to patients.
“In patients with HER 2 positive early breast cancer, almost 18 cycles of therapy are required which costs more than Rs 10 lakh rupees in India. However, with this unprecedented step by Intas, the cost of treatment comes down to less than 4 lakh rupees, which will enable many more patients to avail the benefit of trastuzumab,” said Intas’ spokesperson.
Presently, the MRP of most of the trastuzumab brands in India ranges between Rs.58,000 to Rs.63,000 per 440 mg vial. Medical Dialogues had recently reported that the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) had fixed the price of Trastuzumab Injection in the strength of 440 mg/50 ml at Rs 58867.50 for each pack.
In 2016, Trastuzumab was first put under a ceiling price of Rs 56,000 but health activists had pointed out the ceiling price was steep and hence unaffordable for patients.
Meghna A Singhania is the founder and Editor-in-Chief at Medical Dialogues. An Economics graduate from Delhi University and a Post Graduate from London School of Economics and Political Science, her key research interest lies in health economics and policy-making in the health and medical sector in the country.
She can be contacted at email@example.com
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